Do you have any of the following symptoms?
- A sticky dry feeling in your mouth
- Frequent thirst
- Sores in your mouth or sores/split/cracked skin in the corners of your mouth or on your lips
- A dry feeling in your throat
- A burning or tingling sensation in your mouth and on your tongue
- A dry, red, raw tongue
- Problems speaking or difficulty tasting, chewing, and swallowing
- Hoarseness, a sore throat, and/or dry nasal passages
- Halitosis (Bad breath)
Everyone’s mouth is dry sometimes, but if you have any of these symptoms consistently, you may have dry mouth, and you shouldn’t delay treatment.
Dry mouth, known medically as xerostomia, occurs when you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth. Several factors, including stress, cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, hormone changes, such as during pregnancy and menopause, serious health problems, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes, and snoring or open-mouthed breathing can cause this condition.
In addition to causing the symptoms listed above, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. Your saliva helps to re-strengthen your tooth enamel after eating and drinking, so a lack of saliva can result in weaker tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay. This all happens quickly, so getting treatment immediately is crucial to protecting your oral, and overall, health.
If you suffer from dry mouth, try the following:
- Sip water or sugarless drinks, or suck (don’t bite) on ice chips.
- Avoid irritants, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Remember that caffeine is found in most sodas, as well as in coffee and tea.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy.
- Avoid salty and spicy foods.
- Use a humidifier when you sleep.
- Consider using saliva substitutes. Your dentist can suggest quality saliva-like oral rinses and other solutions.
Dr. Brad Greenfield is a family dentist in Lake Orion, Michigan, and understands the severity of dry mouth and other oral health problems. Offering traditional and holistic cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry, Dr. Greenfield provides his patients with quality, family dental care. Call Lake Orion Family Dentistry at (248) 693-6213 for more information about dry mouth or to reserve your appointment.